06/03/2013

Film professionals brainstorm with Euromed Audiovisual in Cairo

A legal workshop, a national database, and a study on alternative production routes among the participants' ideas

Programme Activities, Egypt

The Euromed Audiovisual III programme's Egyptian roundtable wrapped up in Cairo on Sunday, March 3, with suggestions from attending film professionals about what to include in the programme's ongoing and future cross-regional activities.

Participants notably included filmmaker and film curator Viola Shafik, producers Hala Gala (Semat), Mona Assaad (Studio Misr), Marianne Khoury (Misr International) and Mohamed Samir (Day Dream), producer and filmmaker Hala Lotfy (Hassala, Coming Forth By Day), filmmaker and Cimatheque founder Tamer El Said, and filmmakers Paul Geday, Fawzi Saleh (Living Skin), and Ahmed Rashwan (Basra). National Film Centre director Kamal Abdelaziz, ministry of culture representative Camelia Sobhy and copyright law expert Mohamed Nour Farahat also attended, as did representatives from cultural centres and international donor organisations concerned with culture.

Possibly inspired by the programme's data collection project on Egypt's audiovisual and film sector, whose results were handed out during the event, participants highlighted the need for a database on the Egyptian film industry.

They also touched on distribution for independent films. While filmmaker Ahmed Rashwan stressed the need for small independent cinemas with cheap tickets, filmmaker Paul Geday suggested an online video-on-demand platform for their distribution. Cimatheque founder Tamer El Said suggested that some of Egypt's many closed-down cinemas be re-opened and digitised in order to do this.

Media literacy is also crucial, said producer Marianne Khoury, especially as up to 60% of Egypt's population is younger than 30 years old. The public needs to understand that documentaries are not just about old monuments but can also be about social issues, added Rashwan. Why not involve schools? asked Geday.

Producer Mona Assaad stressed that it was key to find alternative ways to promote film production, as box office receipts and television no longer covered the production costs of a film. As a feasible step in that direction, Viola Shafik suggested an assessment of existing alternative production routes so that producers might benefit from it in and outside Egypt.

Finally, among many other suggestions, award-winning filmmaker Hala Lotfy highlighted the need for consultancy on the legal aspects of drawing up contracts for a film's distribution and worldwide sales.

Berthold Wohlleber, head of the Euromed Audiovisual III programme's Capacity Development Unit (CDSU), told participants that his team would work towards including their needs and suggestions in the unit's ongoing and future cross-regional capacity building activities.

During the meeting, several participants also expressed their interest in joining the CDSU's Financing Working Group in order to participate in its recommendations for a new regional financing mechanism to improve production and co-production in the region.

Press release announcing the national roundtable in Egypt

More information on national roundtables in other South Mediterranean countries

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